“Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” audiobooks in the works

Tad Williams' novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now "The Last King of Osten Ard" will get an English-language audiobook.

Tad Williams’ novels have long been available as audiobooks in Germany. Now “The Dragonbone Chair”, “Stone of Farewell” and “To Green Angel Tower” will get English-language audiobooks.

In Part 4 of our interview with Science Fiction/Fantasy author Tad Williams, Williams revealed plans for audio books for his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series. In the US and the UK, the “MS&T” books have never been transferred to audio, other than an edition for sight-impaired readers that was released on audio-cassette in the 1990s. Requests for English-language audiobooks of “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” have been made for many years, to no avail. German-language audiobooks have been available for a long time.

Today, Deborah Beale, wife and business partner of Tad Williams, just tweeted news that casting for the audiobooks for “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” has commenced. It is presumed that the English-language audiobooks will be released in time for the release of the sequel to “MS&T”, called “The Last King of Osten Ard”. The first volume of the new series, called The Witchwood Crown, is expected in April 2016.

Tad Williams completes 800 pages of “The Witchwood Crown”, releases partial character list

On his official message board today, bestselling speculative fiction author Tad Williams (The Dragonbone Chair, Tailchaser’s Song) posted a progress update on his manuscript of The Witchwood Crown, volume one of his planned three-book return to Osten Ard, “The Last King of Osten Ard”, sequel to the classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” series.

Williams revealed that he will have completed 800 pages of the manuscript this weekend. “I’ll crest 800 pages this weekend, I think, God willing and the river don’t rise,” he wrote, after much flooding in the Bay Area. The page count likely refers to manuscript pages rather than published book pages.

Williams, one of the most respected names in speculative fiction and whose fans include Christopher Paolini and George R. R. Martin, also released a partial character list for the new series, 34 of which are new characters, and the remaining 18 are characters who originally appeared in “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”. Several of these 18 listed characters died in the original series, so they are likely only mentioned in passing in the new book, rather than zombie resurrections, although Williams has been known to resurrect characters who were long thought dead, as fans of his work well know.

Cover of The Dragonbone Chair, book 1 of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

Simon, Binabik and Miriamele will be returning in “The Witchwood Crown”, Book One of “The Last King of Osten Ard”.

Returning characters include fan favorites Simon, Miriamele, Binabik, Aditu and Jiriki. Also apparently returning, at least as mentions in the book, are Duke Isgrimnur, Prince Josua, Tiamak, Lady Vorzheva, Pasevalles, Akhenabi, Jeremias, Count Eolair, Prince Hakatri, Sisqinanamook, and of course everyone’s favorite 10,000-year-old ice queen Utuk’ku Seyt-Hamakha, who is believed to be a major antagonist in the new series.

Unmentioned in this announcement are Derra and Deornoth, the twins whose respective prophesies caused over 20 years of fan speculation while Williams wrote other novels. Williams has confirmed in previous announcements that Derra and Deornoth will appear in the new series.

Williams also wrote of his plans for the new book, including his intention that The Witchwood Crown will move a little faster than the beginning of The Dragonbone Chair, stating, “[T]his one moves a little faster and jumps into multi-person [point-of-view] pretty much immediately.  The “moves faster” part may not be so obvious after I revise and put in some of the detail I skipped over in the heat of first-drafting, but I think it will probably still feel this way.  (Thus, for returning readers, I will have to make sure it still feels pretty similar in terms of depth of character and background).”

Also returning are the Sa'onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

Also returning are the Sa’onserei siblings, Jiriki and Aditu.

The Witchwood Crown, the highly-anticipated first book in the new Osten Ard sequel series, is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2016 release by DAW Books, publisher in the United States, and Hodder and Stoughton, the publisher in the United Kingdom. This will give the publishers time to edit what promises to be a lengthy manuscript, promote the book in international markets, and commission appropriate cover art on both sides of the Atlantic. An official release date for the first volume has not yet been set.

Tad Williams to do Reddit AMA interview

Aidan Moher of A Dribble of Ink reports that Tad Williams will be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview with fans on Reddit’s fantasy board on September 18th:

So, if you have anything you want to pick his brain about, mysteries of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, if he realizes that The War of the Flowers is his secret best work, or what it’s like to have been a direct influence on the biggest fantasy series of the decade (Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire), now’s your chance!

The Witchwood Crown is still on track for a 2015 release from DAW Books. If you’re looking to join in the fun, now would be a perfect time to discover Tad Williams’ seminal Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, beginning with The Dragonbone Chair.

More details, such as exact times for the interview, are forthcoming.
Update: Deborah Beale, Williams’ wife, states the AMA interview will be ‘mid-day’, but she’s not sure what time zone ‘mid-day’ represents.

The Sa’onserei Family Tree

Here is an infographic showing the family tree of House Year-dancing, also known as House Sa’onserei, the ruling house of the Sithi.

Sa'onserei family tree

Sa’onserei family tree.

Notes:
[1] The text indicates that Shima’onari and Likimeya may be siblings in addition to being husband and wife. This may be an error in the appendix.

[2] Jiriki describes Kira’athu as his cousin on page 682 of To Green Angel Tower, part one, but her parentage is not clear.

[3] Jiriki refers to An’nai as his kinsman, but An’nai’s relationship to House Sa’onserei remains unclear.

31 similarities between “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”

dragonbone_chair_a_game_of_thrones

The cover of The Dragonbone Chair features Simon Snowlock and the dwarfish Binabik, as well as the wolf Qantaqa (on back cover). The cover of A Game of Thrones features Jon Snow and the dwarf Tyrion, and the direwolf Ghost.

It is no secret that George R. R. Martin drew inspiration for his A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels from the best-selling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series by Tad Williams. Martin has stated repeatedly that Williams inspired him to write ASOIAF:

Tad’s fantasy series, The Dragonbone Chair and the rest of his famous four-book trilogy was one of the things that inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy. I read Tad and was impressed by him, but the imitators that followed — well, fantasy got a bad rep for being very formulaic and ritual. And I read The Dragonbone Chair and said, “My god, they can do something with this form,” and it’s Tad doing it. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.

In fact, Martin purposely buried some homages to MS&T in ASOIAF, while at other points, he seems to reuse the same plot elements, often to a surprisingly detailed degree. Here are 25 similarities between the two book series [contains spoilers for both series of novels]:

1) A high-born girl named (M)arya disguises herself as a boy, and learns to fight with a sword as she travels throughout the lands. She travels from one end of the world to the other, fleeing danger everywhere, while disguised as a boy. Despite the fact that many people see through her flimsy ‘disguise’, she keeps wearing it.

2) Two princely brothers who hate each other fight over the royal throne. The country is torn apart as various factions choose sides. But the side that plays dirty will win…

3) A red-robed advisor to the new king convinces the king that he needs to sacrifice his hated younger brother; this sacrifice, the red-robed advisor says, will make the kingdom whole once more.

4) A tailed star appears in the sky, portending doom/change.

5) Feuding brothers named Elias/Elyas and Josua appear in the story.

6) Strange, otherworldly creatures who live in the far north appear, and although they have been inactive for centuries, they plot to take over the world. They have been exiled at the northern edge of the world for many years, but will soon take it all back, manchild.

7) It is foretold of the coming of an unusual winter which will last a very long time, at the same time as the otherworldly invasion. Only the northerners take these old legends seriously. Everyone else laughs at such absurd tales. But the people of the north never forget.

8) A very unusual throne lies at the center of the human dispute for the kingdom, but it is only a distraction for the real conflict.

9) A major noble character, a close relative of the king, loses his hand.

10) A wolf character plays a major role.

11) A character that is the ‘Hand’ figures prominently.

12) A slender sword named ‘Needle’/’Naidel’ is wielded by a main character, who can’t use a heavier sword.

13) Everybody laughs at the idea of ice giants in the north… until they see them for themselves.

14) Young, noble children are cruelly thrust out into the cold, cruel world by evil adults, slowly learning to fend for themselves as they grow into young men and women.

15) A crown made to resemble antlers appears as a plot element.

16) A very short yet intelligent character has a betrothal as part of his storyline. But he is soon put on trial, where the penalty is death, and everyone seems set on killing him… even his own lover.

17) The story begins shortly before the death of the old king, whose reign was peaceful, and kept the kingdoms safe. The king brought peace and prosperity to the lands, but now his death has thrown the empire into conflict, with factions fighting.

18) The Children of the Dawn/Forest, who once lived throughout the realm, but who are now living in hiding, will have a part to play. They appear to be at odds with the otherworldly creatures in the far north.

19) A character whose name is Snow(lock), who is forced to journey into the north, is a main character. He appears to be a nobody, but his secret lineage is important. No one knows the truth…

20) A guilt-tormented knight, Sir Camaris/Ser Connington, spends years in exile in the south, only to return, where he is at last revealed as still being alive.

21) A major character lives thousands of miles from the rest of the other main characters, for over a thousand pages having no real interaction with the main group. But eventually, Danaerys/Tiamak will have a role to play.

22) The series was meant to be a trilogy, but got out of hand.

23) A major young male character likes to climb his castle’s walls and turrets, and can do so with ease. Eventually, he will be forced to leave his childhood home, no longer able to climb the castle’s walls and turrets.

24) This same character is plagued by prophetic, spooky dreams.

25) A new god, the Red God, demands blood sacrifice. His adherents are more than willing to do the Red God’s bidding, no matter how awful the sacrifice is. Once blood is spilled, the spell is created, and shadowy figures appear…

26) A servant of evil wearing a hound’s head helmet.

27) An important character of very short size. 26&27 thanks to

28) A fierce people of nomadic grasslanders.

29) Birds are used as messengers between intellectuals.

30) A battle on a frozen lake (not yet canonical in ASoIaF but still).
28-30  thanks to

31) Miriamele/Arya shoots/stabbes the Storm/Night King.

“How to Behave Like a Princess” posted on A Dribble of Ink

Jenny Thurman has posted a new analysis of royal female characters in Osten Ard, from the perspective of a reader who happens to be female. The analysis covers Miriamele, daughter of King Elias; Aditu, daughter of the House of Year-dancing; Maegwin, daughter of King Lluth; and, to a lesser extent, Vorzheva, daughter of the March-thane of High Thrithings.

Thurman writes:

My biggest disappointment, when I began reading epic fantasy novels marketed to adults, was not only how few women there were in these stories, nor even how much more constricted women’s roles often were compared to those I grew up reading about, but how condescending these stories often were towards girls – and princesses – in particular.

Ms. Thurman’s full comments can be found here.

miriamele

Happy Birthday, Oh Most Favourite Book (The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams)

A nice tribute to The Dragonbone Chair…

Letters & Leaves

I usually don’t pay attention to when books were published. But luckily I have friends who do, and who remind me, so…

Happy 25th birthday, Simon, Binabik, Doctor Morgenes, Rachel, Josua, Miriamele, Isgrimnur, Jiriki, Geloë (one day I will learn how to type your name), Deornoth, Dinivan, Ranessin, Towser, Maegwin, Gwythinn, Lluth, Tiamak, Sangfugol, Jarnauga, Qantaqa, Sludig, Haestan, Jeremias, Cadrach, Vorzheva, Gutrun, Einskaldir, Eolair… who else am I forgetting? Leleth, Grimmric, An’nai, Ki’ushapo, Sijandi, Judith, Strangyeard, unnamed woodsman #2… even to Elias, Pryrates, Fengbald, Guthwulf, Ingen Jegger, Inch… you may not be nice guys, but my life would not be the same without you.

Happy birthday to the Hayholt, to Thisterborg, to Nabban, to the Taig, to Aldheorte, to the Wran and Naglimund and Urmsheim and all the places in between.

Happy birthday to the piles of books in Morgenes’ chambers, to the view from Green Angel Tower, to creepy…

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